Concluding Remarks by H.E. Ms. Rabab Fatima, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN at the POC week virtual side event on Training for the Protection of Civilians: Assessing the challenges and best practices of contributions to UN peacekeeping training on 01 June 2020

Thank you, Mr. Moderator.

I thank PAX for hosting today’s meeting; and my apologies for not being able to join from the start. I thank Ambassador Oosterom and Ambassador Amorín, for their valuable remarks. Let me also thank the panelists for their valuable insights. I also thank Mr. Kayinamura for highlighting the key takeaways from the important discussions that we have had.

This has been indeed an extremely rich discussion. The advice of Ambassador Oosterom to utilize A4P platform better, Ambassador Amorín’s focus on internalizing the POC policies nationally—all merit deeper reflections. The panelists have highlighted ground realities and the daunting challenges that our peacekeepers are faced with. In fact, the more we hear from experts with field experience the more we become convinced about the need for further strengthening our shared commitment to work for POC issues.

We fully agree about the importance of training and capacity building of the peacekeepers for implementing POC mandates in the field. However, for trainings to be effective on the ground, they must be fit for purpose and flexible enough to adjust with the evolving situations and ground realities. Keeping this in mind, we have made POC an integral component of our peacekeeping training.

Bangladesh has a state-of-the-art Institute for Peace Support Operations and Training, BIPSOT. We wish to turn that into a global center of excellence for training peacekeepers. BIPSOT provides customized training, joint exercises, and technical support to other T/PCCs also. Last year, it organized a customized Training of Trainers Course (TOT) on POC in collaboration with the Integrated Training Services (ITS) of the DPO. We also host participants from different countries in our National Defense College, Army War College, and other premier training institutions.

Allow me now to briefly share some reflections from our national experience.

First, we subscribe to the notion that POC is a shared responsibility. I appreciate the panelists for highlighting the areas where our peacekeepers can contribute better to the POC mandates in vulnerable settings. But I would like to stress here the importance of a comprehensive and whole-of-mission approach for POC implementation. There must be good coordination with the UN country team and delineation of roles and responsibilities of the peacekeepers, humanitarian actors, human rights experts, and others who give meaning to protection mandates in the conflict zones. The UN family in the fragile contexts needs to develop a robust partnership model based on country specific strategies and in-mission trainings to adjust better to the local realities. Necessary measures also need to be taken to enhance the capacity of host governments.

Second, the COVID-19 pandemic makes POC challenges more complex. We strongly supported SG’s call for a global ceasefire to help preventing further escalation of violence in many conflict zones. Our peacekeepers have already taken up additional responsibilities to support local efforts to contain the pandemic’s spread. Unfortunately, in the line of duty, they are also getting infected. We must, therefore, factor in pandemic challenges in future planning and mandate setting of peacekeeping missions. We need to work together to include additional capacities, training facilities, and adequate equipment to respond to pandemics and health emergencies as well as for ensuring the safety requirements of peacekeepers.  We can tap into the experiences and good practices of current crisis through online trainings, consultations, cross-mission interactions, etc.

Third, we strongly support women’s meaningful, equal, and full participation in peace operations. Bangladesh is a strong advocate for increasing the number of women peacekeepers and to invest more in their capacity-building. Women generally enjoy more trust and confidence of the community they serve and are found more effective in addressing the gender aspects of conflicts.  We need to provide them adequate training facilities in critical areas such as reducing gender-based violence, patrolling, crowd control management, humanitarian assistance, etc.

Fourthly, investing in critical enablers and capacity building of our troops and police for better situational awareness on the ground to tackle emerging threats in the POC front is critical.

 Finally, it will be important to ensure that the recommendations and best practices emanating from today’s discussions are carried forward and put into practice in the field. We hope that the A4P POC Champions Group that we created last year would be able to play a catalytic role in this regard. There are, of course, some difficult issues including the question of enhancing human and financial resources for implementing the POC mandate. The Security Council holds the primary responsibility to ensure that. We hope that with continued, open, and constructive dialogues existing gaps will be narrowed down. Bangladesh will remain a strong proponent of POC issues including training for personnel in UN peacekeeping missions.

I thank you all once again for joining us today and for your important contributions.